Analysts claim ultra-slim PCs set to gobble up marketshare

While ultrathin PC sales have been relatively weak, analyst firms GBI Research and NPD are expecting uptake to increase rapidly in the next few years.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Ultrathin PCs sales have been lacklustre to date, but uptake is expected to skyrocket in the next few years, with Intel-based ultrabooks leading the charge, according to analyst firms.

For NPD, the ultra-slim PC category includes Intel-based ultrabooks, Apple's MacBook Air, and other ultrathin notebooks. Last week, the analyst firm said that ultra-slim PC shipments were 3.4 million in 2011, but will rise to 65 million by 2015, and will account for a quarter of mobile PC shipments.

GBI Research is projecting that ultrabook sales will ramp up in the next five years, and will make up 47 percent of annual notebook sales by 2016.

This is still disappointing news for Intel, which was adamant thatultrabooks would make up 40 percent of all consumer laptop sales by the end of 2012.

Ultrabooks are notebooks that are defined by having an Intel processor that meets the criteria set out by the chip vendor, including how thick the devices can be.

The research firm reported that ultrabook sales sat at a meagre 1.3 million last year, due to their high costs. But as component process drops, GBI Research expects that sales will hit 148.7 million by 2016, with the average retail price going from US$1050 in 2011 to around US$510 in five years time.

NPD also foreshadowed price drops across the ultra-slim PC category. Prices for these kinds of notebooks have already seen a steady decrease, and a maturing ultrathin PC panel production process will drive costs even lower, the analyst firm said.

In June, newly minted AMD Country Manager for Australia Peter Chambers told ZDNet Australia that the chip vendor has high hopes for ultrathin notebooks. AMD is pushing ultrathins to compete with Intel's ultrabook line. The company has more relaxed requirements for AMD-based ultrathin notebook vendors, compared to Intel.

Chambers said that AMD is in a good position to drive cheaper ultrathin notebooks, and drive stronger uptake in this category.

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